More than 70 individuals have already been charged in last week’s seizure of the US Capitol, officials from the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a joint briefing Wednesday—the first such briefing since the attack.
The briefing began with a statement from FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven D’Antuono about the FBI’s activities since the attack. He stated that they have opened more than 160 case files in the week since the attack and that they have received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media from the public, with more coming in. He asked for those involved in criminal activity at the Capitol to come forward and acknowledged that some perpetrators had already turned themselves in.
D’Antuono also said that the FBI had been aware of several individuals who had planned to come to Washington, DC, on January 6 to commit crimes, and that they had been stopped before they could put their plans in motion. Regarding the attack itself, however, he said that the FBI had no information they could link to any specific individuals and that their task in combing through online forums involves discerning actual threats from “keyboard bravado.” When it comes to holding the Capitol rioters accountable, he said that “[t]he FBI has a long memory and a broad reach.”
Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said that the scope and scale of the DOJ’s investigation into the attack is “unprecedented.” He noted that they have opened more than 170 subject files, which identify suspects they plan to accuse of committing crimes at the Capitol, and have already filed charges in 70 cases. He wanted to clarify that while many of the initial charges seem minor, like misdemeanor trespass charges, this is only the beginning. These initial charges open the door to further indictments, and the DOJ is “looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy.”
The DOJ is looking to prioritize cases involving weapons or destructive devices and is especially interested in the person or persons who planted the pipebombs at the offices of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. Sherwin also noted that the DOJ has special teams looking into the assaults committed against municipal and federal officers and a team dedicated to investigating assaults committed against members of the press. They are also “actively looking at” putting individuals involved in last week’s attack on the no-fly list.